Felix the Cat, besides his well-known cartoon career, enjoyed a second birth on the amateur web as an animated GIF:
The origins of this animation are at the moment unknown to us. From the many instances it was used on Geocities, the oldest found until now dates back to February 13th 1997 and was created with version 0.2 of GifBuilder by Yves Piguet from Lausanne.
While it is true that some times the animation was placed on web pages purely because of its entertaining nature, void of any context, in most cases Felix’ appearance added meaning and served as a clever illustration. Some examples:
1. Under Construction
By combining Felix with an Under Construction message, the web page’s author shows understanding for surfers’ frustrations caused by an incomplete page. (In this example, a class yearbook was still missing some photos.)
2. Looking Forward
Felix appeared in announcements of future events. Holidays like Halloween were especially popular. Here is an example of a Christmas that will never come:
Original URL: http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Sands/3614/date.html
3. Webmaster’s Impatience
Not only surfers had to wait during the early times of the web — for pages to be updated and images to be downloaded. Webmasters, the creators of web pages, had to deal with their own kind of delays. For example, not receiving enough communication for their publishing efforts.
Original URL: http://www.geocities.com/Nashville/2165/friends.html
Felix can be found on many pages with relaxing images, poetry, music and jokes. Indeed he appears a little stressed out and could use a laugh or two.
Original URL: http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/2150/wellness.html
Some webmasters felt that Felix was a good representation for themselves. In this example, the animation also helps to ease the gravity of a man’s confessions about his mental illness.
Original URL: http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Spa/6611/BIO.html
6. Deep Thought
Online riddles and assignments have been known to feature Felix. The illustration suggests that you should deeply think about the questions. In the following example, the file is even called think.gif:
Original URL: http://www.geocities.com/abdessalamis/bqs.html
7. Cat Representative
Yes, and some times Felix was used because he is a cat.
Original URL: http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/5463/Pets.htm